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August 15, 1936 - Image 16

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Michigan Daily, 1936-08-15

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SATURDAY, AUG. 15, 1936

The Romantic Legend Of Herman Stenbach And OldMill Li

ves On

G 3

Old Ann Arbor
Mill Elicited
Much Interest
Tells OldLove Tale
Anecdote Told In Detroit
-News-Tribune In 1916;
Paper Now Defunct
By Marshall D. Shulman
If ever, on your long Sunday walks
along the high bank of the Huron
River, you've stopped to look back,
and seen the spires of the churches
and the law club, and the hospital,
just visible among the trees and the
hills, and the feeling has struck you
that Ann Arbor is a village in the
German hills, then perhaps you will
be readier to give credence to this
legend of the old mill.
Fraternity pledges on their Hell
Week quests have found the old mill,
but not -without difficulty, for it
stands 'decaying among the under-
brush out West Huron Street at Ar-
bana Drive.
So moving is the romantic legend
old German settlers tell their children
about the old mill, one finds himself
impelled to believe in it implicity.
Last spring, when the members of the
West Side Woman's Club wanted to
reconstruct the mill as a city mem-
orial, they gave wide publication to
the old legend, which thus gained the
acceptance of truth. For their ma-
terial, the members went back to an
old newspaper clipping from the now
defunct Detroit News-Tribune of
1916, in which the author tells of a
"quaint old Ann Arbor windmill built
as a sacred temple to an unanswered
So runs the legend:
More than 100 years have passed
since Herman, the son of Baron Sten-
bach, lived in Stuttgart, Germany.
The baron was an officer in the king's
service, possessing a great estate
which lay among the towering hills
which surround Stuttgart.
Herman was in love with Gabrielle,
the beautiful daughter of a French
banker of the town, whose estate lay
next to that of Baron Stenbach. The
two families, drawn together by the
love of Herman and Gabrielle, were
fast friends for many years, until the
entrance of the Germans into the
Napoleonic wars.
This led to an estrangement be-
tween the German baron and the
French banker, and through the first
bitter years of the war the breach
between the families grew wider.
Loyality to his king demanded that
the baron withold his consent to the
marriage of his son with Gabrielle,
whereupon Herman refused to fight
against Napoleon and was disinherit-
ed and disowned by his father. Then
there came a. summons for Herman
to appear before the general of the
army, and believing that some
trumped-up charge had been made
against him. Herman fled to hiding
in the friendly hills about Stuttgart.
High up on a hill overlooking the
city, on the estate of Gabrielle's fath-
er, there stood a windmill. It was
here, in the shadow of this old mill
that Gabrielle and Herman met night
after night. Each evening Gabrielle
would steal away from her father's
house and climbing the creaking steps
of the mill, await her lover on the
balcony to which the circular stair-
way led. And here, in the shadow of
the windmill, and with its moans and
creaks rendering the sound of their
voices inaudible to any chance pas-
sers-by, the two lovers met and told
their secrets, secure in the friendly
watchfulness of the old mill, which

seemed to them the one benign ally
which had not been estranged by the
terrible war which swept about them.
And finally, it was to the old wind-
mill that Herman fled to escape the
soldiers who came for him, and for
three days he lay beneath the floor of
the mill, sustained by the food which
Gabrielle was able to carry to him.
At length the soldiers gave up the
hunt and went away, and in the eve-
ning when the long shadows of the
great Stuttgart hills cast their friend-
ly curtain over the windmill, Ga-
brielle climbed the steps to the bal-
cony where Herman awaited for her
their last meeting.
Plan For Future
Long into the night they sat.on the
balcony of the old mill and planned
their lovers' plans, and the friendly
creaking of the mill wheel seemed
to them a good omen. Their plans
led far into the future, when Herman
should cross the seas to America, and
some day come back for her.
Bewitched by the enchantment of
their love, so closely bound up with
the old windmill of her father's, they
sat on and on, building their castles
which were to become so much more
than air in the happy days when they
should go to their new home in Amer-

The Legendary Windmill 20 Years Ago

Are They WildMen?_Nol

'Merely Honors Men

By Thomas E. Groehn
When spring comes to Ann Arbor
it brings with it not only the showers
and resulting flowers, but a group of
University of Michigan students, gone
temporarily berserk, whom the Uni-
versity and its undergraduates proud-
ly point out as "honors men."
Indian braves, forest bards, dunces
on skates, Egyptians, and fire-wor-
shippers-shouting madly, and run-
ning across the walks and lawns of
the ordinarily peaceful campus, make
their appearance in May. Why that
month nobody has ever troubled to
find out, but at any rate they are
not really mad, they are merely
dressed up in the grotesque cos-
tumes of their various tribal orders
and are "riding" for new members.
Five honor societies exist on the
campus to honor Michigan men who
have distinguished themselves in ac-
tivities: Michigamua, Druids, Sphinx,
Vulcans, and Triangles. Their his-
tory and traditions are interesting
and the initiation ceremonies color-
Each year these honor societies
choose from among the 8,000 or more
undergraduates in the University,
men whom they believe will carry out
not only the aims and purposes of
their individual societies, but also the
tradition of Michigan--something, it
has been said, which no university or
college can well do without.
Michigamua Oldest
Michigamua, oldest ,and most fa-
mous among the campus honor so-
cieties, came into being in the fall
of 1900 in order to study philosophy
under the famous Prof. Robert Mark
Wenley. It is said that because those
who wrote the most under Wenley
seemed to get the highest grades, the
group was originally called the "hot
air" club.
The Indian motif came two years
later. The Michigamua tribe, from
which the state took its name, was
not a very large one, though well-
known in this region. Charter mem-
bers took upon themselves Indian
names, all bearing upon the particular
feat or activity in which the Tribe
member was engaged. To put it in
the words of the "fighting braves"
of Michigamua, each name "nust
catchem plenty signif."
Some of the names applied to the
various members are "Pontiac" Fred
Dewey, "Raven Locks" Hollister,
"King" Phil Bursley, "Billy Bowlegs"
Temple. Listed in the directors of
the Tribe are also some Michigan
mtn who today are leaders in their
fields. Among these are "Great
Scalper" Yost, H. C. L. Jackson, well-
known Detroit columnist, "Three
Thunder" Kipke, "Warrior Builder"
Chuck Hoyt, "There He Goes" Chaun-
cey S. Boucher, "Big Ten" Ralph
Aigler, "Wally Neugance" Emory
Thomason, at one, time the highest
paid business executive of any news-
paper, and at present the owner of
the Chicago Daily Times and Tampa
Tribune, and "Friendly Chief" Morti-
mer E. Cooley.
Michigamua is the one honor so-
ciety on the Michigan campus that is
known from coast to coast and ranks
along with Yale's Skull and Cross-
Called "Tribe"
"Tribe," as it is more familiarily
called, initiates its young palefaces
in a public ceremony in which the

"fighting braves," of last year's mem-
bers, assume the Indian headdress
and red war paint (brick dust), and
bring the supplicant initiates into the
wisdom of Indian lore in an impres-
sive ceremony, the location of which
is the Tappan oak in front of the
General Library.
In this initiation the "palefaces"
are made to do much to prove that
they will 'tight like hell for Mich-
igan and Michigamua." Part of the
torture consists of maki.ng the in-
itiates "duck walk" across the campus
and up seven flights of stairs in the
Michigan Union.
At one time the annual "Tribe"
party used to be one of the most im-
portant functions of the year. It

.raditional A liiclhigaii r('ndezvous in
Itsnmotif'is aen from the Druids
-bards of the forests taken from
German Re,,ends of the middle ages.
Its chapter roon in the Michigan
Union is decorated appropriately (as
is a room devoted to Michigamua)
and features a cave-like hole with
trees and rocks lending atmosphere.
At the weekly Druids' meetings,
members are t;)ggt'd in medieval
hooded robes, and assemble under
the direction of the "arch-druid."
Druids' initiates assemble around
the Druid rock in front of Angell
Hall and crawl about with planks tied
to their backs, rendering homage be-
fore the bon-lire. Each year incom-

Michigamua, Druids, Sphinx On Annual


on the balcony of the old mill of
On many other nights, after Her-
man went away to America, Gabrielle
climbed to the old trysting place and
searched the heavens for the star
Vega. But it never brought to her
the happiness they had planned.
Arrives In America
Herman arrived in America with-
out money and without friends. He
struggled along for ten years, by
which time he had become rather
well known as a builder of houses. In
the year 1835 he received news of
Gabrielle's death. A few years later
he appeared in Ann Arbor and formed
a fast friendship with the owner of a
large estate on the edge of the Ger-
man settlement.
When this owner desired a windmill
to pump water to his house Herman
Stenbach was put in charge of its
construction. He made of it an exact
model of the old Stuttgart mill, re-
producing the balcony high up on the
sides of the tower where he had
pledged his troth to Gabrielle on that
last summer night before he left Ger-
But there was one detail in which
this mill differed from the Stuttgart
original. When Herman built his mill,
he made no doorway to the bal-
cony. But the owner never under-
stood this lack of foresight in his
friend, and passers-by often wondered
By Marshall D. Shulman
Forty students on a greased tele-
graph pole, struggling to keep out of
the reach of barrel staves swinging
beneath . . . A mob of rioting stu-
dents ripping the piano of a local
theatre apart, leaving the theatre in
ruins . . . The "laws" and the "lits"
battling to the finish in the grimy
mud that was Stat Street.
These are the memories of Ann
Arbor of a half century ago, called
forth by the sight of many an old
grad slapping another oi the back
and starting a story "Do you rernem-
ber the time . .."
These are the memories of a man
who has seen classes since '99 pass in
one end and out the other from the
'State Street doorway of his shop-
Myron E. Slater -who has sold books
to students for the last 35 years.
Those were the days when State
Street was a two-way dirt drive, when
seniors wore high plug hats, when the
cigar store had a wooden Indian in
front, recalls Mr. Slater, who well re-
members the cigar store because his
present store is on exactly the same
spot now.
Among the more dramatic episodes
in the spotty history of Michigan's
undergraduates is the memorable
time when students demolished the
old Star' Theatre, which stood on
Washington street between Main and

at the quaint old mill with its bal-
cony so unattainable. The wander-
ing Herman built many other struc-
tures during his stay in Ann Arbor,
and some of them still remain, quaint
old landmarks which cause the older
settlers to harken back to the days
when they were first lured into the
beautiful valley of the Huron, beck-
oned on by the great hills which
reminded them of their homes in the
Herman left for the South less
than a year after the completion of
the mill, and word came back to the
owner that he had died in a little
house which he had built for himself
in Mobile, Ala. But still the old wind-
mill stands on the hill, so like the
Stuttgart mills that Herman loved
so well. And though the wheel is
almost gone, the mill stands, its
doorless balcony a tribute to the
beautiful Gabrielle, and dreams which
never came true.
Thus runs the legend, as it was
printed in the old Detroit paper of
19 years ago.
One of the most recent of the Uni-
versity's faculty members to depart
for a European jaunt is Professor
Arthur L. Cross of the History De-
partment. He sailed on the Queen
Mary on July 29 and is spending sev-
.pu'elbuJ ul sgaam 'lexa

ords, when members of Sphinx car-
ried .45 revolvers with which they
startled the citizenry, but someone
objected. And then also in those
good old days" there used to be an
overhead water release on one of the
campus drives, under which the
Sphinx wagon would drive in order
to assure the initiates a thorough
dampening. If any of the initiates
suggested that they were cold, oblig-
ing members would paddle the soles
of their feet to insure better circula-
On one part of the ceremonial ride,
the members of Sphinx run up the
steps of Angell Hall and assemble
under a bronze Sphinx head in the
foyer of the building to sing their
traditional song.
Feud Formerly Existed
A constant feud used to exist be-
tween Triangles, junior honorary en-
gineering society and Sphinx. It used
to occur that when Sphinx wanted
to drive their wagon-load of initiates
through the engineering arch-way,
the Triangles would be having their
initiation there and would rather
naturally object. Unable to stop the
inroad of Sphinx, members of Tri-
angles, about five years ago, poured
hot water on them as they passed
under the arch from windows above.
Triangles formed more than 20
years ago, has a program of regular
lectures at its meetings intended to
present broadening material outside
the field of engineering.
In accord with its philosophy of
cleanliness of the soul, Triangles has
in its initiation a regular scrubbing
of the Engineering Arch. Initiates
must also crawl around in the steam
laboratories with the same idea of
purification by heat in mind.
Of more than general interest on'
the University campus is the regular
Triangle skating contest in front of
the General Library. Initiates in
dunce caps and carrying pails of
water, and some of whom have been
given no opportunity to learn to
skate, are tested for speed and en-
Outstanding seniors in the engi-
neering college are honored by mem-
bership in Vulcans, which was found-
ed in 1904. Meeting every two weeks,
Vulcans also attempts to present a
broadening program to its members.
Around Huge Fire
The informal part of the initiation
of Vulcans is conducted around a
huge fire in front of the engineering
clock tower and the initiates, stripped
to the waist and blackened, crawl
about the fire, blowing on it and
pounding on an anvil.
Three years ago, the society, which
like all of the others, "rides" for its
men at night, disturbed the populace
of Ann Arbor to such an extent with
their anvil-pounding that the local
"bobbies" were summoned and the
boisterous fellows were placed in the
"bastille" temporarily..
Later in the initiation ceremony of
the society, the legend of Prometheus
is reenacted in a remote room in the
basement of the engineering building.
There is the picture of men's honor
societies at the University.gThese so-
cieties carry on at Michigan one of
the greatest assets it can possess-
tradition. The boys initiated into the
societies, for the most part, are defi-
nitely "good Michigan men." They
are the alumni who come back for
the big games, they are also the al-
umni who frequently help the Uni-
versity materially with financial as-
sistance. They feel closer to Michi-
gan than the average undergraduate,
no doubt, because they have done
things on the campus.
Botanical Gardens,
51 Acres Of Fertile
Land, Located Hre
Among the valued possessions 4
the University is its Botanical Garden,

a plot of fertile land consisting of 51
acres, which offers facilities for all
phases of botanical instruction and
research concerned with growing
Among the equipment which be-
longs to the Botanical Gardens are
seven greenhouses, a two-story brick
laboratory; and ample work rooms.
The entire tract has been piped for
An important feature of the green-
houses, it has been pointed out, is the
provision of several separate rooms
for individual research problems,
each equipped with automatic heat
control and independent ventilation.
A collection of growing plants for
teaching and exhibition purposes is
now being developed on a wide scale.
It includes more than 2,000 species
and varieties, including some of the
more important economic and orna-
mental species of the tropics and a
representative collection of hardy
perennials, shrubs and trees.

would start as a steak roast early in
the afternoon and the dinner would
be served by the "young bucks."
At the present time, the annual
Michigamua party is known as the
"Peace Paddle," and each "young
buck" paddles a "fighting brave" and
his "squaw" of the moment up the
Huron River where, in a secluded and
"Indianish" territory, much amber
"fire water" and sandwiches are con-
From All Colleges
Members of Michigamua come from
all colleges of the University and
are chosen on the basis of their rec-
ords in their activities, but more im-
portantly as to their character.
Druids, senior honor society, which
honors only literary college students,
found its inception in Joe Parker's

ing members are responsible for giv-
ing the historic rock a bath.
The Egyptian theme runs through
the ceremonials of Sphinx, junior
honorary literary society, which was
founded more than three decades
Sphinx For Juniors
Intended solely to pay homage to
distinguished and promising juniors,
Sphinx originally had the job of con-
ducting a tag day to pay the expenses
of the Varsity Band, assisted in the
enforcement of campus traditions,
and helped to entertain visiting ath-
letes. ,j
Old members wear red robes in
the initiation ceremonies, and ini-
tiates, stripped to the waist and well
covered with venetian red, are tied
to a board, and loaded on to a hay
wagon for a ride through the city.
There was a time, according to rec-

im Of Dad's Era Now In Decadent Past

Way The University Campus Looked Way Back When

Students in those days had to go
down to the postoflice to get their
mail each day, and each day there
was a riot all over again just l4efore
the distribution bega .
Many cf the old alunni back in
town will remember "Old Doe" Nag-
ley, thinks Mr. Siateir. He was fa-
mous among student s for his job,
which was to carry the cadavers in
lhe medical school downstairs to the
oicklin vat. In thlol;e days, the med-
ical labor atory was located about
where the new enaineerig building
now stands.
Fraternities in tho'e days were
feeble frame st ruetures, made over
from r.nomlg houses and private res-
idences, and only a small percentage
of the more affluent Students were
members, aceording to Mr. Slater.
The album from which Mr. Slater
secured the old pictuies of the cam-
pus was collected by his grandmother,
Mrs. Martha Sheehan, who was the
donor of the rock which stands on
the northwest. corner of the campus
as a memorial to the class of 1862.
It was hauled, according to a news-
paper report, from the backyard of
Mrs. Sheehan's home by a team of
16 white horses, and was installed
in its present location in an im-
pressive ceremony in which President
Tappan participated.
A distinguished Republican was
Dr. Marion LeRoy Burton. resident

_ _ __ _ _ ,

But revenge was not ing in com-
ing. The student, his dignity offend-
ed, told his story to the rest of the

This really marked the beginning
of a riot. The policemen, some stout
a - nflstac i- a,,~irartt a

"But the settlement was bitter,"1
reminisces Mr. Slater. "Members of
the student body circulated among

I .

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